Turbine supply problems expected to ease for Canadian project developers

Canadian wind project developers should benefit from an easing of the tight turbine supply situation by 2011, as new manufacturing facilities in the US generate more competition for contracts, according to Joshua Magee of Emerging Energy Research (EER), an advisory firm. Right now, US independent power producers have first pick of wind power capacity headed for North America, Magee told delegates at this year's annual Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) conference. Developers in the US have seen some easing of equipment costs and contract terms over the past six month, something that has been "slower to materialise" in Canada. The difference boils down to sales potential, says Magee. EER's projections estimate about 20,000 MW of installed wind in Canada by 2020, compared to 125,000 MW in the US. Canada's desire to attract more wind turbine manufacturing capacity to the country is likely to run headlong into the US juggernaut as well, warned Magee. "Essentially the story of what we've seen in the United States, the story of what we've seen in China, in India, in several select European countries, is that supply chains follow demand," he told delegates. "Solve the demand problem and you solve the supply chain problem." Whether CanWEA's 20% by 2025 vision helps do that remains to be seen. "The challenges are going to be substantial for the goal that they are proposing." In the end, Magee added, there will be benefits that flow to the Canadian industry from US manufacturing. "That gain you're going to get in terms of lower transport costs from those new facilities will inevitably trickle down into the cost of Canadian wind plants that use those factories, but you are losing the job creation."

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